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April 2017 Newsletter
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Topics Include:

  • Building Pavements to Last in Minnesota
  • Asphalt Pavement Alliance Announces Winners of 2016 Perpetual Pavement Awards

  • MnDOT Announces 2017 State Road Construction Projects

  • MnDOT Asphalt Design Guidelines for Local Agencies

  • MAPA Workshop

  • NAPA Launches Emerald Eco-Label EPD Tool

  • Former MnDOT Commissioner Richard Braun Passed Away at 91

  • Video of the Month: Drivability Is What Matters

Building pavements to last in Minnesota

By Mark Blow, P.E.

High volume routes constructed with asphalt pavement in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul (MSP) metro area have historically been few and far between.

The fine sand and gravel mixes that used unmodified asphalt binder did not last under the high traffic loads and higher tire pressures. A 2001 Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) technical memorandum governing the pavement selection and pavement design standards actually prohibited the consideration of asphalt pavement on routes with 20-yr ESALs (equivalent single axle loads) over 10 million.

Recently, MnDOT conducted an extensive pavement design review that included newly constructed pavements constructed with PG binders and upgraded aggregate characteristics meeting SuperPave criteria. The performance of several high-volume routes around the MSP metro area constructed with premium asphalt specifications resulted in the elimination of the asphalt moratorium on routes over 10 million ESALS. The new MnDOT pavement design manual issued in February of 2016 allows the use of flexible or rigid pavement types on all levels of traffic in Minnesota.

Click here to read the full article

Asphalt Pavement Alliance Announces Winners of 2016 Perpetual Pavement Awards

Ten Departments of Transportation Honored for Success of Long-Life Asphalt Roads

Ten departments of transportation were named winners of the 2016 Perpetual Pavement Award by Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA). The award celebrates long-life asphalt pavements that reflect the characteristics of a Perpetual Pavement design. The award is presented to state transportation departments and local agency road owners for well-performing asphalt pavements that are at least 35 years old with proven high-quality structural design.

To earn the award, the pavement must have not suffered a structural failure, and it should have an average interval between resurfacing of no less than 13 years. The road must demonstrate excellence in design, quality in construction, and value to taxpayers. Engineers at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) at Auburn University, evaluated the nominations and validated the results for this year’s Perpetual Pavement Award winners.

Minnesota Department of Transportation won its 15th Perpetual Pavement Award (more than any other state or agency) for a 7.7-mile, two-lane stretch of Minnesota State Highway 371 in Cass County, between Pine River and Backus, Minnesota.

Click here for the full article

MnDOT Announces 2017 State Road Construction Projects

Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle announced $1 billion in state road and bridge projects that will be worked on statewide this year. The 211 projects, many of which are already underway, will help keep the state’s roads and bridges in good working condition, improve safety for motorists and support thousands of construction jobs across the state.

Zelle also announced 57 multimodal projects valued at $47 million. These include airport, port and railroad projects that are outside of the state road construction program. Click here for a complete list of projects.

Asphalt Design Guidelines for Local Agencies

MnDOT State Aid has updated their Technical Memorandum regarding “Specification 2360 – Plant Mixes Asphalt Pavement – Design Guidelines for Local Agencies.” It can be found at:

MAPA Workshop

The MAPA 2017 contractors workshop was held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, MN. There were a total of 200 registrations and 14 sponsor booths. This year the topics were:

  • 2017 Legislative Session, MnDOT Funding

  • State Aid Projects

  • MnROAD & NRRA update

  • Specifications 101

  • Safety DNA

  • Material uniformity at the paving train

  • Life Cycle Cost of Pavement Overlay Options

  • Thinlay

  • Performance Testing

  • Intelligent Compaction & Infrared Thermal Bar

Thank you to everyone who attended!

MnROAD & NRRA – Glenn Engstrom, MnDOT

MnDOT Funding – Mark Gieseke, MnDOT

2017 Legislative Session – Margaret Donahoe, MN Transportation Alliance

MnDOT Asphalt Specs 101 – Greg Johnson, MnDOT

Material Uniformity at the Paving Train – Bill Reiken, Bomag Americas<br />

Life Cycle Cost for Pavement Overlay Options – Ashley Buss, Iowa State University

Thinlay – Brandon Brever, MAPA

Performance Testing: Cracking Group Experiment – Randy West, NCAT

Intelligent Compaction & Infrared Thermal Bar – Rebecca Embacher, MnDOT

NAPA Launches Emerald Eco-Label EPD Tool

NAPA’s new Emerald Eco-Label tool provides a user-friendly, inexpensive way for contractors to create on-demand environmental product declarations (EPDs). EPDs quantify the environmental impact of an asphalt mix, much like a nutrition label provides information on a food. To learn more about what an EPD is, watch this video. To ensure the credibility and accuracy of EPDs generated with the Emerald Eco-Label tool, each company’s primary/technical contact for the program is required to view two training webinars and pass a test before gaining access to the tool. For more information about Emerald Eco-Label, visit To access the tool directly, click here.

Former MnDOT Commissioner Richard Braun Passed Away at 91

Richard P. Braun, former commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation and a founder of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota, died peacefully on April 11 at the age of ninety one.

Video of the Month: Speed of Construction Matters

Minnesota has a limited construction season. Asphalt pavements are quick to construct and easy to maintain, which means smooth surfaces with fewer delays for drivers.